Once you bring home a newly adopted kitten, you may find that he tends to disappear and hide in some remote spots. The new environment can be overwhelming for your furbaby, so you'll need to allow him some time to adjust to it while you gain his trust.
If you find your kitten curled up in the back of the closet or under the bed, he may be cold and looking for a warm spot to sleep. Kittens less than 10 weeks old need a warm bed to snuggle inside to avoid becoming chilled, according to the Partnership for Animal Welfare. Create a comfortable place for him to sleep out of a spare cardboard box. Wrap a heating pad in a soft blanket and set it to low. Place it inside the box with some additional blankets, leaving enough room so that the kitten can move away from the pad if he gets overheated. Put the box in a place where you can interact with your furbaby and keep an eye on him, such as next to you on the couch or in your bedroom at night. The warm bed will also attract older kittens to hang out with you rather than hide in your home.
Young kittens need to be exposed to a variety of people to become used to their presence; otherwise they may hide away in fear. Kittens learn the majority of their social behaviors before 7 weeks of age, but if your furbaby hasn't quite gotten properly socialized by this time, you can still provide him with some remedial training. Tempt your kitten out of hiding with interactive cat toys and tasty treats. Play with him while speaking to him in a soft, reassuring tone. Give him some of the treats and gently stroke his fur. Soon your little guy will learn to trust you. He'll also realize that spending time with you results in some fun activities and yummy treats. Reward your kitten for spending time with not only you but with your friends when they drop by so he'll learn not to be spooked by strangers and hide.
The presence of a resident cat or dog can intimidate your new little kitten, spurring him to take cover and hide. Keep your kitty in a separate room from your existing pet during his first few weeks with you. Rub his scent on a towel and allow your other pet to smell it; do the same in reverse to let your little guy smell the scent of your resident pet. Allow the fur balls to interact through a pet gate for a few days until they seem comfortable around each other without showing signs of aggression or fear. Once acclimated to each other, encourage positive interactions between the two pets by giving them both tasty treats while in the presence of the other. Soon your kitten won't fear your other pet or feel the need to hide around her.
Kittens typically sleep 16 hours or more per day, according to PetPlace, so don't be surprised if you little prince falls asleep in a favorite hiding spot, snoozing there for most of the day. While this behavior is normal, if your kitten hides all the time and fails to come out for meals or to use the litter box, your little guy might not be feeling well. A kitten that doesn't eat due to illness can develop additional, sometimes fatal, medical issues. It's vital that you get your kitten to a veterinarian right away for an exam to diagnose and treat any health conditions he may be suffering from.
A bored kitten will tend to hide and sleep more than usual because there's nothing for him to do. He also may take to hiding in places around your home and pounce on your feet to entertain himself, expressing his natural prey-hunting instincts in an unpleasant way. To avoid such issues, engage him in play daily for at least 15 minutes a day and provide him with cat toys he can play with on his own. This way, he can pounce and chase the toys, not your limbs, to his heart's content. Provide a scratching post for your kitty to scratch and a cat condo for him to climb. To provide some stimulation for him, place the condo in front of a window so he can watch the outdoor wildlife. With some environmental enrichment, your furbaby should be out of hiding and about your home in no time.
- Veterinary Partner: Orphan Puppy & Kitten Care
- FelineDocs: What are You Doing in THERE? Why Cats Hide in Strange Places
- PetPlace: Why Do Cats Like Small Places?
- Petfinder: Kitten Development
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Socializing Your Kitten
- Iams: Here Kitty Kitty -- Learn Why Cats Hide
- VetInfo: Why Is Your New Kitten Hiding?
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: How to Care for Your Kitten
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Fear of Places and Objects
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.